Penn College athletics keeping busy

Published 12.26.2022

Wildcat Weekly

An athletic conference proposed merger in the works. Wrestling action on two fronts. A men’s basketball Player of the Week honoree. Two women’s basketball games slated this coming week. Who said the semester break is slow for Pennsylvania College of Technology athletics?

On Dec. 19, it was announced that the United East Conference and Colonial States Athletic Conference have entered into an agreement establishing an intent to merge with a start date of Fall 2023, as long as all conditions set by both conferences are met.

According to the release, an Implementation Task Force, led by UE Commissioner Stephanie Dutton, CSAC Commissioner Marie Stroman and two unnamed athletic directors from each conference, will “begin working through the logistics of merging day-to-day conference operations in the coming months.

“The merger is intended to address the evolving landscape of higher education by stabilizing conference membership and solidifying the sport sponsorship currently offered by the existing conferences. This merger will also provide member institutions an opportunity to decrease the number of associate memberships necessary to support the current sport offerings on each respective campus.”

The United East has nine core NCAA Division III member institutions: Penn College, Gallaudet University, Lancaster Bible College, Morrisville State, Penn State Abington, Penn State Berks, Penn State Harrisburg, St. Mary’s College of Maryland and Wells College. It also has associate members in men’s golf, including Clarks Summit University, Rosemont College, Rutgers University-Camden and Wilson College. Clarks Summit University also is an associate member in men’s tennis, and the United East partners with the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference in men’s and women’s lacrosse.

Sports sponsored by the UE are men’s baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, tennis and lacrosse. UE women’s-sponsored sports are basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

The Colonial States Athletic Conference, initially the Pennsylvania Athletic Conference and formed in 1992, has 10 core members: Bryn Athyn College, Cairn University, Cedar Crest College, Clarks Summit University, Keystone College, Notre Dame of Maryland University, Rosemont College, St. Elizabeth University, University of Valley Forge and Wilson College. Six associate members are Penn State Behrend, Alfred State College and Gallaudet University in men’s and women’s outdoor track and field, Lancaster Bible College in field hockey and men’s volleyball, Pratt Institute in men’s volleyball, and Sweet Briar College in field hockey and women’s lacrosse.

The CSAC sponsors men’s sports in baseball, basketball, cross-country, lacrosse, outdoor track and field, soccer and volleyball. It sponsors women’s sports in basketball, cross-country, field hockey, lacrosse, outdoor track and field, soccer, softball, tennis and volleyball.

On Monday in a tri-match at King’s College, the Wildcats lost to King’s, 35-10, before topping Pitt-Bradford, 24-20, to even their dual record at 2-2. Winning both of their bouts for Penn College were Patrick Snoke, of Northampton, at 133 pounds; Noah Hunt, of Muncy, at 141; and Nicholas Semon, of Norristown, at 157.

Thursday at the 89th Wilkes Open, Snoke led the way by going 4-1 in his matches and placing fifth at 133 as Penn College placed 11th in a 32-team field. Ryan Berstler, of Middletown, at 125; Hunt, at 141; and Cullen Van Rooyen, of Dresden, Ohio, and Michael Molloy, of Levittown, both at 157, all ended the day with two wins.

“This last week of our schedule was probably one of our toughest since we had two competitions on the road within 72 hours. That’s two weigh-ins, on the road, in a short amount of time. It demands a significant amount of discipline and toughness to recover quickly in between competitions and perform at a high level in such a short amount of time. (I’m) proud of the fight our guys consistently demonstrate,” first-year coach Pankil Chander said.

“We knew coming into our Monday tri-meet that it was about each individual on our team getting mat time and quality matchups – it’s all preparation for the postseason. Strong individual performances can lead to team success, and that’s what we did in our dual win against Pitt-Bradford. We had two guys bump up (weights) in Van Rooyen and Anton Esterbrook to contribute to the team score,” Chander said.

“We knew coming into the King’s duals that we had our work cut out for us since we had a couple of forfeits. We’re playing the long game and sitting a couple of guys due to recovering from mild injuries. We won the first three of five bouts where we were evenly matched, which indicates that we were in the mix in that dual if we didn’t surrender a few forfeits. It was still a great opportunity to compete against another solid team,” Chander said.

“At the Wilkes Open, also known as the ‘Rose Bowl of College Wrestling,’ we had an extremely productive day as a program. The Wilkes Open is always an incredibly deep field that includes teams across all three (NCAA) divisions. Our guys had the opportunity to match up with opponents from the Big Ten, like D-I Rutgers; MAC competition, in D-I Bloomsburg; and EIWA D-I programs like Franklin and Marshall and Sacred Heart,” the coach said.

Chander continued, “We had more than half of our guys experience success and get their hand raised. We also had guys beat Division I opponents from Franklin and Marshall and Sacred Heart.

“Snoke became the first Wilkes Open medalist in program history by defeating two Division I opponents and did so in dominant fashion. Snoke now has 16 wins only halfway through this season; he had 12 wins all of last season.

“Hunt won two matches and got defeated in a tough quarterfinal bout by Jacob Reed of D-III Ohio Northern, who took third in the country last year. Hunt earned a convincing takedown in the match and it was the only time Reed was taken down all tournament. Reed went on to win the Wilkes Open and beat a Division I NCAA qualifier in the finals.

“It was a great day for our team because our guys are starting to believe and know they can compete with anyone in any division – D-I, II, or III. It was an excellent day for our program because we were exposed to some of the best programs in the country and they’re now paying more attention to Penn College wrestling and what we’re about.”

The Wildcats now are idle until Jan. 7, when they compete in the Waynesburg University Invitational.

Men’s basketball
After recording his second triple-double of the campaign on Dec. 12 with 22 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a loss to King’s College, sophomore Gavin Barrett, of Roselle, New Jersey, was honored as the UE men’s basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season.

Overall: 2-2
ECWC: 0-0
Monday, Dec. 19 – at King’s College Tri-Match vs. King’s College, L, 35-10; vs. Pitt-Bradford, W, 24-20
Thursday, Dec. 22 – at Wilkes University Open, 11 of 32
Saturday, Jan. 7 – at 11th Waynesburg University Invitational, 10 a.m.

Women’s basketball
Overall: 1-7
UE: 0-1
Wednesday, Dec. 28 – CUNY Coaches vs. Cancer at Lehman College, Bronx, NY: Penn College vs. Lehman College, 2 p.m. (Neumann vs. William Paterson, noon)
Thursday, Dec. 29 – CUNY Coaches vs. Cancer at Lehman College, Bronx, NY: Consolation, noon; Championship, 2 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 6 – host Penn State Harrisburg (UE), 5 p.m.

Men’s basketball
Overall: 4-5
UE: 0-1
Monday, Jan. 2 – at Centenary University, 5 p.m.
Friday, Jan. 6 – host Penn State Harrisburg (UE), 7 p.m.

For more about the United East, visit the conference website.

For additional information, visit the Wildcat Athletics website.

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